PDA

View Full Version : Possible Physics Violations in the Angels and Demons Movie (Spoilers)



Hyperspace Dude
2009-Dec-29, 02:51 AM
In the end of the movie, when the antimatter bomb goes off, we see a whole crowd of people looking directly up at it. Now, I'm not sure how high the helicopter was, but it couldn't have been high enough for that explosion not to blind everyone who was looking directly into it. I know it was a cloudy night but still. In the beginning of the movie, the scientist says it would be a 5 kiloton blast. So, what we technically have is a 5k airburst, directly over a city, and no one is blinded. Moreover, there was apparently no EMP pulse, because, everbody's electronic equipment just came back on after the shockwave.
Now, unlike classical nukes, would an antimatter bomb not have said effects? Or are we looking at bad movie physics? Can anybody help?

WayneFrancis
2009-Dec-29, 04:57 AM
bad movie physics. I turned off my reality-science-o-meter as soon as they had the anti-matter in a magnetic bottle that you could carry in your hand.

I didn't try to make sense of it any more then I did any of the "science" from Avatar or how the Death Star could generate ~2x1032 joules of energy in a few minutes or, even more, release it in a few seconds.,

NorthernBoy
2009-Dec-29, 02:13 PM
Other factual errors from the book (I have not seen the film) is that CERN does not have a hyperfast plane to transport people (although London City Airport let me commute there in two hours from London's Docklands), a shooting range, or, frankly, any secretive aspects at all.

dgavin
2009-Dec-29, 03:14 PM
In the end of the movie, when the antimatter bomb goes off, we see a whole crowd of people looking directly up at it. Now, I'm not sure how high the helicopter was, but it couldn't have been high enough for that explosion not to blind everyone who was looking directly into it. I know it was a cloudy night but still. In the beginning of the movie, the scientist says it would be a 5 kiloton blast. So, what we technically have is a 5k airburst, directly over a city, and no one is blinded. Moreover, there was apparently no EMP pulse, because, everbody's electronic equipment just came back on after the shockwave.
Now, unlike classical nukes, would an antimatter bomb not have said effects? Or are we looking at bad movie physics? Can anybody help?

Let me try to take a stab at this.

My guess here is a Matter/anti-matter explosion would have almost no visible light, almost all of it's output would be in the form of an intense gamma ray burst. There would be some light in the form of gamma rays being converted to visible light as they interact with the atmosphere.

So while it might not actualy be bright enough to blind people, or turn people into crispy critters like with a nuke. Any one within a 5 mile radius of the device would likely be instant dead from the resulting gamma-ray burst. A 5kton antimatter device would produce the equivlent gamma radiation of about a 25mton hbomb (this is a rough estimate, haven't done the math, but the antimatter reaction produces all its energy release as gamma ray's and not as broad spectrum like with a fussion device)

As far as EMP goes that would be an unknown if it would produce such an effect, but i suspect not as again the spectrum is narrow

eburacum45
2009-Dec-29, 03:33 PM
One possible type of antimatter bomb would be a fusion bomb catalysed by a tiny amount of antimatter. The antimatter would take the place of the fission primer in a conventional hydrogen bomb. Th effects of such a bomb could be essentially indistinguishable from an ordinary h-bomb (but might be a lot smaller in size and yield).
Reference Antimatter induced fusion and thermonuclear explosions (http://www.citebase.org/abstract?id=oai:arXiv.org:physics/0507125)

hhEb09'1
2009-Dec-29, 04:30 PM
One of our thousands of helpers has pointed out that this thread probably should be in BA in the Media, rather than Q&A, and I agree so I've moved it.

I want to take this opportunity (somehow, a mod tangent to a thread about antimatter in the popular media seems appropriate), at the end of the year, to thank each and every one of you who do so much to help out with this board. It'd be impossible otherwise.

And, I also want to thank all you content providers, too! And finally, all you lurkers. :)

Wait, thank you Phil and Fraser too.

And the croo, mods and admins.

And Al Gore

Gillianren
2009-Dec-29, 06:11 PM
Something wrong? In a work that's Dan Brown-based? Allow me to put on my shocked face!

NorthernBoy
2009-Dec-29, 07:45 PM
There are a few sites scattered around the CERN servers dealing with the film, but this old one does it quite nicely,

http://public-old.web.cern.ch/public-old/Content/Chapters/Spotlight/SpotlightAandD-en.html

DrRocket
2009-Dec-29, 11:52 PM
As far as EMP goes that would be an unknown if it would produce such an effect, but i suspect not as again the spectrum is narrow

From what has been described (I have not seen the film) the blask occurs at low altitude and rather close to the observers. That would not produce the high altitude EMP (HEMP) that is the subject of most discussions of EMP, but it could produce the more severe source region EMP (SREMP) and high gamma and x-ray fluxes might produce system generated EMP (SGEMP) in cabling that is not hardened. HEMP is not as devastating as typically portrayed, and shielding to protect against it is relatively easy to implement. But SREMP is much harder to mitigate and SGEMP requires some specialized techniques that are unlikely to be found in civilian applications.

However, if you are in the vicinity of a reaction (and if you can see a helicopter that is the source you are definitely in the vicinity) of a macroscopic quantity of antimatter with ordinary matter, the energy release should be sufficient to provide much greater problems than the EMP. That E=mc^2 thing creates a lot of heat from a relatively small mass.

slang
2009-Dec-30, 01:29 AM
Haven't seen the movie, and I'm not really interested in it, but should there be a spoilers tag on this thread? I can't tell.

JohnD
2009-Dec-30, 06:34 PM
You're asking about "Physics Violations" in a film about angels and demons?

John

Strange
2009-Dec-30, 09:14 PM
You're asking about "Physics Violations" in a film about angels and demons?

It isn't actually about angels and demons; that is a metaphor for the good and bad guys in the film and, more subtly, the matter-antimatter thing. This is by far the cleverest thing in the whole movie/book. I suspect the publishers might have suggested it.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Jan-03, 06:37 PM
There would be some light in the form of gamma rays being converted to visible light as they interact with the atmosphere.
The gamma rays heat the atmosphere and the atmosphere is what flashes bright white from something similar to black body radiation.
Except for minor details of light frequencies and how the dominant ones develop over the time of the initial energy release, you'll probably get the same effect from a 5kt thermonuclear and matter/antimatter burst.

DonM435
2010-Jan-07, 05:33 PM
In the end of the movie, when the antimatter bomb goes off, we see a whole crowd of people looking directly up at it. . . .


"Move on! Nothing to see here!"

DonM435
2010-Jan-08, 02:31 PM
"Move on! Nothing to see here!"

"But it's an anti-matter explosion! No one's ever seen one of those!"

"No matter! Move on!"

"Not no matter . . . anti-matter!"

"Less than nothing to see! Move on!!"